GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A net of handwoven gold is capturing the attention – and vote – of at least one juror in ArtPrize Nine.
Jessica Wildman says her installation, dubbed Bushcraft… Radical Stimulus, was inspired by her roots and current interests.
“I grew up in the lakes area of southeast Michigan, and that sort of culture and imagery has stuck with me. And now, studying weaving, it was sort of natural for me to gravitate toward netmaking and researching that history,” she explained.
Wildman says she spent about three months creating the piece, which takes up much of one room at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. It’s also one of five installation entries selected by former ArtPrize winner Anila Quayyum Agha to grace the Juror’s Shortlist.
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“The installation sort of recreates the pound net, this volume harvest fishing apparatus that was introduced to the Great Lakes in 1850, and brought about major changes environmentally, socially, economically, you name it,” explained Wildman.
She says the invention wiped out populations of walleye and lake perch, and altered the way people lived.
“It sort of marked the departure from subsistence fishing for survival to the commercialization of this resource for profit. To line the pockets of the affluent few who essentially monopolized the industry,” she said.
It’s no accident Wildman chose to weave the piece’s nets with 24 carat gold, or gild the saplings with copper leaf.
Bushcraft… Radical Stimulus is on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.